The Oakland Ed Week in Review 11/18/23-12/1/23

It’s time for the Oakland Ed Week in Review! We took a break for Thanksgiving and now we’re back with a beefed up edition of our weekly roundup of education news from around The Town, state and nation. This is a Dirk favorite and one of the last blogs he published for Great School Voices. Here’s what’s going on this week: OUSD’s student homeless population jumped 70%(!) since the start of the pandemic; the war in the middle east continues to be a wedge issue on California college campuses; and a new report finds that charter schools deliver more bang for the buck than district schools (check out the article to read exactly what that means). What did we miss? Hit us up in the comments below. (Photo credit: The Washington Post) 


Oakland Unified copes with shocking rise in district’s homeless student population
The number of homeless students attending Oakland Unified schools grew nearly 70% percent over the last three years. That number rose to 1,780 students in 2023. Prior to the pandemic, the numbers hovered around 1,000.
Read the article by Juliette Goodrich in CBS Bay Area

Oakland schools’ newest leader already preparing for political clash with labor opponents
The votes he will cast as a representative for District 5 — a largely Latino area that includes parts of East Oakland, including Fremont High and the Fruitvale neighborhood — could break a political deadlock that involves an increasingly hostile dynamic between the union and board President Mike Hutchinson.
“My focus will be on bringing some healing, meeting with everybody,” Lerma said in an interview following his election victory. “There are a lot of people in the teachers union who told me that they didn’t agree with who their organization endorsed.”
Read the article by  Shomik Mukherjee in The East Bay Times

Students at Oakland middle school consume candy that may have contained illicit drugs
A Westlake Middle School student in Oakland is believed to have given their classmates candy that possibly had illicit drugs in it on Monday, the Oakland Unified School District said.
The district said most of those who ate the candy bar only had a “small portion,” but one student ate enough of it that they later reported feeling sick.
Read the article by Jose Fabian in CBA Bay Area

Oakland school district holds its first girls flag football championship game
The Oakland Tech Bulldogs beat the McClymond High Warriors 32-6 Saturday night, making OUSD history and showing everyone that the football field is also for girls.
Read the article by Emma Goss in NBC Bay Area

California schools, non-profits awarded federal grants to support community schools
Oakland Promise was awarded a capacity building and development grant of $401,345 to support community schools. National University and Cutler-Orosi Joint Unified were each awarded $3 million multi-local agency grants to implement and sustain community schools.
Read the article by Diana Lambert in EdSource

The State of California

University of California professors push back on UC president’s call for ‘viewpoint-neutral’ history of Middle East
A group of University of California professors signed a public letter pushing back on the UC president’s efforts to develop what he described earlier this month as a “viewpoint-neutral history of the Middle East,” saying it violates their academic freedom.
“We find your use of the term ‘viewpoint-neutral history’ to be wrong in this context and call upon you to rescind it,” the letter, signed by about 150 UC professors, states.
Read the article by Eric Levenson in CNN

Jewish groups sue University of California over ‘unchecked’ antisemitism
It points to a handful of the 23 student organizations’ practices, including the Berkeley Law Legal Services organizations, which it says require Jewish students to take a “Palestine 101” training program that “emphasizes the illegitimacy of the State of Israel.” In the Women of Berkeley Law, the Queer Caucus at Berkeley or the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association, the suit claims the groups require members to agree with their support of the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement, which is focused on “dismantling” the modern state of Israel.
Read the article by Miranda Nazzaro in The Hill

State data collection systems failing students in juvenile detention, report says
The report highlighted that it has long been anecdotally understood by researchers, probation staff and others working in education within the juvenile justice system that student attendance is often transitory given the dynamic nature of the legal system. The report’s authors argue that instructional programming should reflect this knowledge by calculating any partial credits earned by recording them in student transcripts once they leave juvenile detention. Students also need additional services to more seamlessly move back into their local schools.
Read the article by Betty Marquez Rosales in EdSource

Student homelessness grows in San Jose school district
The East Side Union High School District has approximately 900 unhoused students, compared to 300 in 2020. Officials said the number continues to climb and cite inflation, cost of living increases and the rollback of COVID-19 pandemic renter protections as the key culprits. The number of homeless students in the district is projected reach about 1,000 by the end of the year, district spokesperson Sergio Diaz Luna said.
Read the article by Lorraine Gabbert in San Jose Spotlight

Fewer undocumented students have DACA. California’s colleges want to help, even if the options are limited
Today a growing number of students in California’s colleges and universities are ineligible for DACA. An estimated 17,000 people in California don’t qualify because of decisions by the Trump administration and the courts, but many more people — nearly 100,000 Californians — are ineligible for other reasons, said Ariel Ruiz Soto, a senior analyst from the Migration Policy Institute. Namely, the program has restrictions around residency and age.
Read the article by Adam Echelmen in CalMatters

Newsom and DeSantis both promote freedom in education. But their focus is wildly different
For Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis it’s about giving parents the freedom to control what their children will learn and where. They also are free to leave public schools entirely — using state funding for a private school.
For California Gov. Gavin Newsom freedom to learn is about protecting the civil rights of students, expanding opportunities within public schools through new investments — such as schooling for four-year-olds — and also allowing instruction about diverse views related to race and gender.
Read the article by Howard Blume in The Los Angeles Times

Across The Nation

New report finds charters deliver more bang for the buck than district schools
Public charter schools are more productive than traditional school districts in terms of their ability to translate a given level of investment into math and reading gains for students.
That’s the finding of a new report from researchers at the University of Arkansas. Charter schools in Indianapolis; Camden, New Jersey; San Antonio, Texas; and New York City were all particularly cost-effective.
Read the article by Chad Adelman in The74million

An error in the FAFSA could lower financial aid for college students
The Education Department has failed to update guidelines used to calculate eligibility for financial aid, an error that could result in students’ receiving less scholarship and grant money for college next school year.
Read the article by Danielle Douglas-Gabriel in The Washington Post

After Supreme Court ruling, college applicants still write about race
With that green light, counselors and colleges are encouraging applicants more than ever to explore their racial and ethnic identities and their views on diversity. How these essays influence the decisions selective colleges make in coming weeks and months could become another flash point in the volatile debate over the pursuit of racial diversity in higher education. Schools also face the threat of lawsuits from affirmative action opponents eager to widen the impact of the court ruling.
ReadListen to the article by Nick Anderson in The Washington Post

This State Is Giving New Teachers Up to $20K to Stay on the Job. But There’s a Catch
Any full-time undergraduate student who’s enrolled in an accredited university teacher education program in Oklahoma and has a minimum 2.5 grade point average qualifies. The students have to commit to teaching in any Oklahoma public school, in any grade or subject, for five consecutive years upon graduation.
The benefits rack up over time: Program participants receive $1,000 in their freshman, sophomore, and junior years; $2,500 in their senior year; and $4,000 per year for their first five years teaching in an Oklahoma classroom—a total of up to $25,500.
Read the article by Madeline Will in Education Week

Facebook watches your teens online as they prep for college. How a Meta pixel pulls it off
Our investigation found the pixel on dozens of popular websites targeting kids from kindergarten to college, including sites that students are all but required to use if they want to participate in school activities or apply to college.
Read the article by Colin Lecher and Ross Teixeira in USA Today

As new variant threatens winter spike, US schools to get free COVID tests
Starting in December, schools can request at-home antigen tests from the Education Department and Department of Health and Human Services, federal officials said Wednesday.
Read the article by Zachary Schermele in USA Today

Some schools are changing how they grade students. Here’s why some parents are upset
The interest in revamping grades has been slowly growing over the past decade, but it got a boost in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, when many schools and teachers were more forgiving on deadlines and more open to experimenting with formal systems to try to better meet the challenges students were facing in their family lives. That’s according to Matt Townsley, an assistant professor of educational leadership at the University of Northern Iowa, who has written books about changing grading systems and who has helped schools switch to standards-based systems. After getting a “taste” of such reform, he said, “many thought it made sense to do it on a more permanent basis.”
Read the article by Jeff Young in EdSurge

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